CAIRO - The main Syrian opposition grouping has said it turned down
invitations to visit Washington and Moscow to protest what it described
as international silence over destruction of the ancient city of Aleppo
by Syrian missile strikes.
A statement late on Friday by the
Syrian National Coalition, an umbrella group of opposition political
forces, said it also had suspended participation in a Friends of Syria
conference of international powers due in Rome next month to protest the
attacks it said have caused many civilian casualties.
or civilians have been killed by Scud missile strikes. Aleppo, the city
and the civilization, is being destroyed systematically," the statement
"The Russian leadership especially bears moral and
political responsibility for supplying the regime with weapons," it
added, referring to Moscow's status as a leading ally of Syrian
President Bashar Assad.
"In protest of this shameful
international stand, the coalition has decided to suspend its
participation in the Rome conference for the Friends of Syria and
decline the invitations to visit Russia and the United States."
invitations had been extended to opposition coalition leader Mouaz
Alkhatib after he met the Russian and U.S. foreign ministers in Munich
The invitations were made shortly after Alkhatib
offered to negotiate Assad's departure with members of the Syrian
government who were not tainted by having participated in the crackdown
on the 23-month-long revolt.
attacks on eastern districts of Aleppo, Syria's industrial and
commercial hub, killed at least 29 people on Friday and trapped a family
of 10 in the ruins of their home, opposition activists in the city
On Tuesday activists said at least 20 people were killed
when a large missile hit the rebel-held district of Jabal Badro, also in
the east of the contested city.